SLED investigating fire at former Alice plant

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — The cause of a fire at the former Alice Mill Foster plant last month remains under investigation by state agents.

Easley Fire Chief Matthew Littleton said the call came in at 1:56 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 30.

The fire was visible from Rice Road when the first responding units arrived, Littleton said.

“It had burned through the roof of the cloth room,” he said. “They could see the fire from Rice Road.”

No one was injured in the fire, Littleton said.

Fire departments from around the area responded to assist, he said.

“Most of the fire stations in Pickens County sent personnel to help,” Littleton said. “We also had help from Greenville, Anderson and Oconee counties.

“The thing that nobody thinks about is, not only do we need to bring in help at the scene, we bring in help to backfill our respective fire stations, because the everyday calls keep coming in and those have to be answered,” he continued.

The last unit left the scene of the Foster Plant fire around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31, Littleton said.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined, he said.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating, Littleton said.

“Just because we called SLED in, that doesn’t mean we suspect anything,” he said.

When dealing with smaller fires, his department handles origin investigations in-house, Littleton said.

“When it’s that big, that large of an area, we call in the experts,” Littleton said.

Opening in 1959, Alice Manufacturing’s Foster plant was in operation for nearly 50 years. The company announced the plant would close in 2008.

Now known as Alice Company, the firm recently announced the former Arial plant has been sold and will be converted to a mixed-use property.